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21st-century Skills and the Learning of History

Edward L. Ayers
President and History Professor, University of Richmond

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We can devise more intentional, targeted, and interesting ways of teaching history for the 21st century. . . We have the opportunity to create new tools and redefine our purposes so that we teach history with the excitement it deserves.  Read more »

Fritz Fischer
History and History Education, University of Northern Colorado

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History teachers need not change their teaching, but can and should make the case that we already teach “21st century skills” . . .. The “new” skills include “critical thinking,” “communication,” and “information literacy”—all skills taught by the strongest history teachers for decades.  Read more »

Steven A. Goldberg
President-Elect, National Council of the Social Studies

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Today’s students are digital natives. . . .. And consequently, their comfort with 21st century skills should make their learning of history even more exciting by opening the vast world of digital sources—a world unknown to their teachers when we were their age. But we still need to teach our students to think critically.  Read more »

Michelle M. Herczog
History-Social Science Consultant, Los Angeles County Office of Education

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By being intentional about developing [21st-century] skills within the history curriculum, educators can bridge the profound gap between what most students learn in school and what they need in demanding 21st century communities and workplaces.  Read more »

Jill Lepore
History, Harvard University

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Studying history is like time travel, that way. It brings you someplace else, some time else. . .. Here’s where I don’t get that feeling: staring at my computer.  Read more »

Daniel Willingham
Psychology, University of Virginia

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Using technology to meet the ambitious goals of the 21st century skills movement demands more than first meets the eye. . .. If the 21st century skills goals are to be met, there must be better professional development for teachers.  Read more »

Teachers of history from k-5

Teachers of history from k-5 struggle with sufficient depth of content to be able to devise engaging and critical lessons for students. I have seen first and second grade students work on identifying information and using it to create statements from simple primary source documents. Most teachers at these grade levels don't feel confident to even teach "the book."

Teachers of history from 6-12 come with vast content knowledge and firmly believe that students really want to hear them "talk" their way through history. Getting these teachers to determine essential vs. non essential information is not always easy. It is even more difficult to get them to move beyond telling students how to do something (like analyze primary sources) rather than modeling and let students get actively engaged in the process.

Many teachers embrace technology for technology sake. When teachers tell me how they are going to use technology with students in a classroom, my first question is: "Are you teaching technology or using technology to teach?" It takes them awhile to get it. Teachers can teach 21st century skills and can use technology; what is needed is to help them understand the purpose of both and how these skills are easily embedded in a quality lesson.

Some good points! One of my

Some good points! One of my issues of Social Education helped me solve the dilemna of what I'm doing by just focusing on the goal and working backward. That way I'm more into "what do I need to use to get this content across" than what are the individual bits of information. Activities, both technecal and interactive, seems to flow into it better. And even though I teach 6 - 8 history, interactive is still way more effective.

That was amazin I'm doing

That was amazin I'm doing research on a math teacher history and i found u guys so ya

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